My special place is St Pancras Station in London. It is the starting point for my research for all the Victorian Detective books, as it is where the train from Harpenden, my town deposits me whenever I visit London to walk the streets and take myself on another journey: back into the past to imagine what life was like back in the 1860s.
The actual station was built later than the 1860s, and has now been beautifully refurbished inside, but it still bears evidence in the arched roof and the Gothic exterior, of the wonderful craftsmanship of the Victorians. Who else would go to such trouble to build a train station?
Every time I alight from the train, I always go for a walk round ~ not to visit the shops or grab a coffee, but to look up and imagine how exciting it must have been for the original travellers as they entered the smoky atrium, and saw the line of shining engines waiting for people to board. In an age when the fastest means of travel was by horse (and in an overcrowded city like London that wasn't fast at all) to be whisked away at anything from 30 to 60 miles an hour must have been breathtaking and truly terrifying.
From St Pancras Station, I can walk to the great Georgian and Victorian squares that fan off from each other and provide the location for so many of my books. I always take my camera, and one of my pictures of Russell Square actually appears as the cover background to Rack & Ruin.From the top of a double-decker bus, I can observe the tops of the buildings, that still retain their original features, even though their ground floors have all been modernised.
It was on one of my visits to London that I came up with the original idea of writing a historical crime novel ~prior to that, I'd only written teenage fiction.I always loved the Victorian period, and writers like Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. Walking through the station, I was struck with the thought: could I write a book featuring people who lived in their time? Could I fill pages with noblemen and thieves and women in crinolines? By the time I'd reached the exit, I had my answer: Yes, I could. And I would! And five books later, I am still inspired and still writing them!
St Pancras Station is the beginning of my research, and the end ~ and as the train whisks me away, at speeds scarcely imagined by the characters in my books, or their real contemporaries, I can sit back and see them, in my minds-eye, going about their lawful (and unlawful) business in the smokey, dirty, gas-lit streets of 'Babylondon'.
Carol Hedges is the successful UK writer of 17 books for Teenagers/Young Adults and Adults. Her writing has received much critical acclaim, and her novel Jigsaw was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal.
Her ebook Jigsaw Pieces, which deals unflinchingly with many of the problems that beset today's teens, is available on Amazon as is her Dystopic Fantasy The Last Virus
Carol is also the writer of 'The Victorian Detectives' ~ a series of novels set in 1860s London and featuring Detective Inspector Leo Stride and his side-kick Detective Sergeant Jack Cully.
The five books in the series are:
Diamonds & Dust
Honour & Obey
Death & Dominion
Rack & Ruin
Meet Carol online
Amazon Author page: amazon.co.uk/Carol-Hedges/e…